Watercraft »

SSR Logistics is proud to have been selected for your boat relocation service.

This guide contains information you will need to know in order to ensure your Watercraft Transport goes smoothly.
Please take the time to read it. Should you have any questions, please contact your Service Consultant.

yacht en mditerraneGeneral Guidelines

This boat preparation guide was compiled to assist the boat owner in properly preparing and securing the boat for overland transportation. Please make every effort to prepare the boat according to these guidelines. Oversee the preparation yourself or have a qualified yard do so. SSR Logistics cannot be responsible for damage due to improper preparation or loading by the shipper, for faulty or defective cradles, trailers, chains, binders, or other equipment provided by the shipper to secure the cargo.


AdobeStock_71725310General Information

Watercraft Transport

The legal height for transporting over the road is 13′ 6.” Please choose a marina or boatyard with at least 14′ overhead clearance, with no low tree branches or wires on its approach.

If you choose a marina or boatyard to which there is no clear access, the carrier cannot accept responsibility for damage caused by branches or wires. The larger the boat, the higher the load, the more clearance required. Unless previously discussed, freight amount quoted is for legal height of 13′ 6″ loaded on the carrier’s trailer. If your boat loads higher, a freight surcharge will be added to your freight amount.

The driver will perform a survey only of the exterior of the boat. The condition of the boat will be noted on a condition report. You or your agent will be asked to sign this report at the point of pickup; a copy of this report will be given to you or your agent at that time. At delivery, the boat will again be inspected; the condition report again signed and another copy will be given to you or your agent. Any damage noted by you or your agent upon delivery must be noted on the bill-of-lading that you sign when you or your agent accepts delivery of the boat.

Recreational Fishing Boat. Boating Theme.

Boat Description & Measurement

If problems are encountered due to inaccurate descriptions or measurements provided, improper preparation or loading arrangements, we may, at our discretion, impose a fee for unnecessary delays &/or additional costs associated with the inaccurate information. This includes faulty information provided for length, height, width & weight.
Please insure the following guidelines are observed in providing the measurements to SSR Logistics.


Include bow pulpits, swim platforms, outboard motors themselves (the length of the motors or out-drives in the raised position). If the boat is to be shipped on a trailer, include from the tip of the tongue to the end of the motor.


With most boats, weight will not be a factor. However, with large boats & yachts or with metal boats, the weight may be critical & accurate information must be provided for accurate permitting in accordance with regulations.


The maximum height of many overpasses is 13 ft 6 in. Many over-sized yachts require wide-belly, low-boy trailers in order for the keel to set down low. Using these type trailers for tall yachts can sometimes lower the total height low enough to avoid using a pole car if the boat is loaded is less than the state-by-state regulations. The NE area of the U.S. as well as some other regions, have many low bridges & re-routes may be dictated by each state’s Department of Transportation. Boats with an overall height greater than 13′ 6″ loaded on the trailer require special handling, oversize permitting & specified/approved routing. It is critical to measure from the bottom of the keel to the highest non-removable part of the boat.

If actual on-site measurements of the boat can’t be obtained, height measurements can be obtained from the boat’s specifications. The draft (from the waterline to the bottom of the keel) + clearance (from the waterline to the highest part of the vessel) equal the total standing height. Depending on your model boat, the fly bridge, command bridge, radar, the arch, props and/or rudders may need to be removed for legal & safe shipment. If this is the case, it is important to measure the vessel without these components in order to insure the dimensions supplied for quoting the move & obtaining permits are accurate. Accurate measurements for tall loads are critical as the arrangement for the permits & pilot cars must be made prior to the driver seeing the boat.


The beam of your boat is the measurement at the widest point of the boat including anything attached to the boat. Boats wider than 8 feet 6 inches are regarded as oversize permitted loads & require oversize state permits. Depending on the beam, some states & cities may require the oversize load be escorted with licensed “pilot cars”. Accurate measurements for wide loads are critical as the arrangement for the permits and pilot cars must be made prior to the driver seeing the boat.


Please verify the boat description (year, make & model) used for quoting the transport is completed & accurate. In most cases this information is used in conjunction with the measurements supplied in order to insure we have the correct permits ordered & that we will be scheduling the correct equipment & driver for pick up of the boat.


SSR Logistics is not responsible, & the customer agrees to provide & pay lift arrangements at both the loading & unloading locations. SSR doesn’t provide any type of water loading or water launching as our trailers are special over-the-road trailers & they can’t be submersed for any reason. SSR cannot be responsible for damage due to or caused by improper preparation or loading/unloading by the shipper or shipper’s agents. The customer has the responsibility for insuring the boat is properly prepared for shipment & inspected prior to the trucks arrival for loading.

Due to Federal & State Regulations, boats must be inspected prior to loading to insure there is no water borne contamination, such as mussels or plant growth.

Due to Federal & State Regulations, fuel aboard must be at minimum levels & amount of fuel aboard affirmed & stated to driver upon loading.

Yatch sail and desk on blue sky and sea background

Preparing Your Watercraft For Transport:

Reasonable inspection process may be restricted or limited due to access; locked, closed, covered, not available &/or covered by shrink wrap. Items & areas the driver can’t inspect will be noted as “With Contents & Condition Unknown to Carrier or SSR Logistics”. SSR will not be responsible or liable for any claimed damage to items or items in areas that the driver can’t inspect or that contents & condition are unknown to carrier. You or your agent will be asked to sign this report at the point of pickup; a copy of this report will be given to you or your agent at that time. At delivery, the boat will again be inspected & detailed photos taken; the condition report again signed & another copy will be given to you or your agent. If there is any damage noted by you or your agent upon delivery this must be noted on the bill-of-lading or cargo condition report that is to be signed when you or your agent accepts delivery of the boat. In addition, the freight must be paid in full in order on delivery in order to file a claim with the insurance company.

If the boat is not properly prepared for shipment, the boat may be shipped completely or partially “As is”, “Secured &/or Packed by Shipper” &/or “With Contents & Condition Unknown to SSR”.

Under these circumstances, SSR will not accept responsibility for any resulting damage caused by or related to these items. SSR cannot be responsible for damage or delays due to or caused by improper preparation or loading/unloading by the shipper or shipper’s agents, items & equipment that is secured &/or packed by the shipper, or faulty or defective cradles, trailers, chains, binders, straps or other equipment provided by the shipper to secure the cargo. This includes anything that shakes loose, is not properly secured, becomes unattached, drops, falls or breaks as a result of these items.

Young man standing on the yacht in the sea at sunset

Boat Preparation Guidelines for All Boats:

  • All personal, craft & other loose items should be properly packed & secured, preferably in a locked area. For legal reasons, we can’t ship household goods.
  • All electronics should be shipped separately or removed & packed & secured inside the craft with access locked. Please remove because if left on, these items could vibrate off or become damaged.
  • We recommend you lock the cabin & that you keep the key.
  • Cabinets, locker doors, drawers & all lockers inside the craft should be securely shut.
  • Cloth & canvas covers, tops & curtains, life jackets, seat cushions, etc. should be removed & stored below in a secure area.
  • All ports, cabin doors, windows, ports & hatches should be battened down securely, shut, locked & taped over/tied.
  • Plastic/Plexiglas fly bridge windshields should be removed & stored inside the craft.
  • Confirm the seal of windshields are tight, screw mounting area not rotted or compromised & screws are not corroded.
  • Inspect cradles, trailers & other equipment storage items for fit, snugness, bolt tightness, sturdiness & structural integrity.
  • Any inboard/outboard or outboard motors & outdrives should be raised, locked and secured.
  • Dinghies can’t be transported on their davits. They should be stored in the cabin or securely lashed & padded in the cockpit.
  • Any part of the superstructure that was removed for shipping should be protected, well padded & secured for transport.
  • For legal & safety reasons, boats can’t be shipped with water in them.
  • Fuel aboard must be at minimum levels & type & amount of fuel affirmed & stated to the driver upon loading.
  • Battery operated engine hatch covers should be manually secured to prevent accidentally opening during transport.
  • Batteries should be disconnected & all cables taped & tied off to prevent accidental contact.
  • A boat must be free of water borne contamination for Interstate movement. The boat must be thoroughly inspected & hot water washed & dried to remove all signs of possible.

2 boats dry docked 1 with shrink wrap 1 with out. preparing Watercraft TransportShrink Wrap Guidelines:

Some marinas & transporters do not recommend shrink wrap for large boats & yachts. While shrink wrap can protect the boat from road tar & dirt, their recommendation is that your money be spent on a good wash down at delivery instead of for shrink wrapping the boat. Some haulers refuse to haul a wrapped boat because they have had so many jobs fail on the road which they then have to deal with.

Shrink wrap can & does tear or fly off during transit. This can cause considerable damage from beating against the boat & chaffing. Flapping shrink wrap can damage gel coat, stainless steel rails & anodized aluminum.

Keep in mind that the driver’s view is often obstructed, & especially at night, & the driver can’t always see that the shrink wrap has torn. Nor can the driver hear the shrink wrap flapping or “wind milling”.

SSR Logistics drivers carry tape, & will try to repair damaged shrink wrap if possible. When shrink wrap becomes un-repairable, it will be removed to avoid damage from the shrink wrap beating against the boat.

If the shrink wrap becomes non-repairable, the driver has no choice but to remove the shrink wrap to prevent damage to the boat. When this occurs, the driver will perform a thorough condition check of the exterior of the boat noting all existing conditions. Due to safety concerns, the driver may not be able to climb up onto the boat to access the deck or cabin areas. Reasonable inspection process may also be restricted or limited due to access areas being locked, closed or covered. Items & areas the driver can’t inspect will be noted as “With Contents & Condition Unknown to Carrier or SSR Logistics> SSR will not be responsible or liable for any claimed damage to items in areas that the driver can’t inspect & that the contents are unknown to carrier. The condition of the boat will be noted on a new cargo condition report & additional photos will be taken.

It is our experience that manufacturers that shrink wrap & ship a large number of boats have a very high success rate in the shrink wrap arriving at the destination in good condition. Manufacturers also have a vested interest in their boats arriving at their dealer’s locations in new condition so any shrink wrap problems are addressed & corrections in the process made. We have seen that marinas, dealers & shipyards have a much higher rate of failure of the shrink wrap covering then manufacturers, possibly due to less experience with the shrink wrap process.

To shrink wrap or not to shrink wrap your used boat for transport is basically a decision that the boat owner must make based upon the circumstances. SSR’s general recommendation about shrink wrapping used boats is the boat owner should first investigate the type of shrink wrap offered, the installers experience level with shrink wrapping & some information concerning the success rate the installer has experience in the past. Shrink wrapping a boat for transport is expensive & in some cases the decision might be made on the value of the boat. It probably makes sense to shrink wrap a large, high value boat but in the case of a lower value boat it might be better to use the money for detailing the boat upon arrival at the destination.

It is standard policy in the boat transport industry that the transporter doesn’t accept responsibility for damage caused by shrink wrap. SSR also takes this position & will not be held responsible for damage caused by shrink wrap.

The white sails of yachts on the background of seaAdditional Boat Preparation Guidelines For Sailboats:

Rigging, buckles, mastheads, antennas, wires, cables, spreaders, winches, gauges, lights, etc must be removed from mast.
Mast should be adequately & completely wrapped by shipper in protective padding to protect mast chafing & damage. Additional padding will be added to cushion the mast at the points of tie down.

SSR Logistics is not responsible for any costs associated with repainting or repairing masts in the event of chafing or damage caused by improper decommissioning, taping, packing or padding of the mast. Some chaffing is normal & unavoidable, particularly if the mast is painted.

On center board sailboats, make sure the board is secured & will stay up in transit.

Keel sailboats may expect some separation where the keel joins the hull. Light built or racing sailboats can also expect some hull indentation from the support pads. These items are considered to be inherent when shipping sailboats & are not considered to being shipping damage.

Rudders, sticks, ladders, outboards, life lines, stanchions, bow & stern pulpits & anything else that can move, turn, vibrate or flap in the wind, should be removed &/or well secured by the shipper.

Wood Boat Guidelines

It is highly recommended that wood boats be transported on their own custom built cradle. This is suggested because there may be inherent structural weaknesses that are not readily visible or detectable. A well designed cradle will spread the weight of the boat over a much wider contact area. The older the boat, the more critical it is to use a well designed cradle for shipping the boat.
Wooden boats can be expected to dry out. A coat of linseed oil applied prior to shipping will help.

Other Exclusions:

SSR Logistics cannot be responsible for, & customer agrees to release, discharge, & not hold SSR Logistics responsible for damages to wood hulls, boat covers, canvas tops, contents stored or secured in the boat, for items & equipment that is secured &/or packed by the shipper, unsecured cleats or anchor points, or damage caused by defective or improperly installed shrink wrap. SSR cannot be responsible for, & customer agrees to release, discharge, & not hold SSR responsible for damages caused by the customer’s trailer, customer’s cradle, wind, water, or aged, deteriorated or damaged parts & equipment.

Some items are considered an inherent potential vice of boat transport due to road vibration & these items are not caused by driver neglect, but are a normal part of boat transport would happen, no matter who was transporting your boat.

Aquatic Invasive Species:

Aquatic Species includes both aquatic plant & aquatic animal species. Invasive aquatic plants are introduced plants that have adapted to living in, on, or next to water, & that can grow either submerged or partially submerged in water. Invasive aquatic animals require a watery habitat, but do not necessarily have to live entirely in water.

Zebra & Quagga mussels are two closely related mussel species that originated in Eastern Europe & were accidentally introduced into the Great Lakes in the mid-1980s. Zebra & Quagga mussels are an invasive non-native species that breed very fast, have no known predators, & can quickly colonize new areas. Once they infect a water body, they cover piers, boat launches, & water intake facilities. There is no effective eradication method, & the cost to manually remove these mussels from water intake screens & pipes is millions of dollars per year. Zebra & Quagga mussels have caused extensive economic & ecological damage since arriving in the Great Lakes, & is rapidly spreading throughout North America; 1st to many eastern waterways, rivers, & lakes & more recently to several western states.

The environmental, economic, & social/human health impacts of (zebra/quagga) mussel infestations can be catastrophic. Zebra/Quagga mussels are nonnative ecosystem changers that are drastically altering aquatic communities in the Great Lakes & other watersheds. Potential human health risks include the contamination of municipal water supplies, increased occurrences of blue-green & other toxic algae blooms, & the concentration of contaminated sediments which can then be dispersed into the food chain. They are freshwater bio-foulers that can quickly reduce or stop flows in hydroelectric & water supply systems, plug water cooling systems in watercraft motors, % create physical hazards to fish and humans.

Both Zebra & Quagga mussels are easily transported on boats & trailers because they can live out of water for up to a month. Due to this, the boat owner/agent, must ensure the boat is clean inside & out of all plants, animals, mud & debris prior to shipment. In addition, all water must have been drained from wells, bilges, ballasts, thru-hull fittings & engine cooling systems & allowed sufficient time for the boat to completely dry (typically at least a week). This cleaning, draining & drying of your boat must be done prior to loading the boat for transport.

Federal & State Aquatic Invasive Species laws make it unlawful to possess or transport across state lines Dreissenid (Zebra & Quagga) Mussels &/or other aquatic invasive species. 43 States have AIS plans approved by the Federal Government (remaining states have plans under development) to control the spread of aquatic invasive species. These programs, generally referred to as watercraft inspection programs, are intended to prevent the spread of AIS through the inspection & decontamination of watercraft & equipment. Boats found with evidence of the mussels may be impounded or quarantined & boat owners may face fines in some states.

Western states, (Including WA, OR, ID, MT, UT, CA, NV, AZ, CO, KS, NE, NM, SD, ND, OK, TX, WY, AK, & BC(Canada) have active monitoring, detection & decontamination programs to prevent & control the spread of aquatic invasive species such as Quagga & Zebra mussels. Many of the western states also have watercraft stations in place which require all boats to be stopped & inspected at entry into the state.

Due to the severity of this problem, SSR Logistics is taking an active role by requiring all used boats to be cleaned & the owner/agent for the used boat to certify adequate cleaning & drying has taken place prior to our picking up the boat. Steps required for transport include that the boats hull, thru hull fittings, prop, shaft, trim tabs, keel, anchors, rudder & any other underwater items have been power washed with hot water exceeding 140 degrees. In addition, the engine cooling systems & water systems have been drained & have been washed with hot water exceeding 140 degrees. The bilge & all other systems containing water have been cleaned with hot water exceeding 140 degrees, drained & are dry & that the boat has been out of the water for at least seven (7) days prior to loading.

For more comprehensive information pertaining to cleaning your boat for safe shipment, go to “A GUIDE TO CLEANING BOATS”  that was compiled specifically for boat owners & watercraft users. The information contains general guidelines for all boaters & a basic checklist for inspecting & cleaning boats & recreational equipment for Quagga/Zebra mussels. There are also additional inspection & cleaning checklists for specific types of boats and equipment.

For more information on Aquatic Invasive Species go to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services